More than one million tourists are set to visit Qatar for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. Fans should be rest-assured that incredible experiences await them, the local culture, the food and the flavors are all available, with fantastic value for money and budget-friendly options – or even for free!
Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel, said: “Qatar is easy and exciting to explore without breaking the bank. All visitors will find a raft of inexpensive restaurants, transport options, activities, and lots of attractions to enjoy either for free or at a great value. Qatar is one of the safest destinations in the world, centered around the warm hospitality characteristic of the local culture.”
THINGS TO DO FOR FREE
- Picnics at the park: Qatar has numerous lush green parks – the perfect place for a family stroll and a picnic. Aspire Park has lakes, kid’s play areas and views of the 300-meter Torch Tower. Al Bidda Park stretches down the coastline and has many sporting activities on offer, along with rentable barbecue spaces. Adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Art is MIA Park with the best vantage point of the Doha skyline. The small but stunning Onaiza Park has a pretty garden area and winding walking track.
- Public beaches: Those willing to venture 1hr 20 mins outside Doha should seek out Fuwairit Beach for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. Fuwairit Beach is a hotspot for kitesurfers and home to a hatching site for the endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtles. Closer to the capital is Sealine Beach, in the desert dunes of the south, or Katara Beach, inside Katara Cultural Village within Doha itself. For a list of the top public beaches visit:
- Soak up the culture: Katara Cultural Village has a stunning beach promenade, an impressive open-air amphitheater and a network of exhibition galleries and cutting-edge facilities. Souq Waqif is the country’s bustling traditional marketplace, offering souvenirs, spices, and numerous budget-friendly food options. The newly developed Msheireb and Education City districts each provide a free tram service to tour the wonderous avant-garde architecture for a dose of how the past meets the present in Qatari design and culture. The latter also houses the Qatar National Library with its intriguing paper plane design, while Msheireb has museums that celebrate the history of four heritage houses.
HAGGLE FOR A BARGAIN
In Qatar’s souqs, or markets, a friendly bit of haggling is expected to find the right price for both parties. The iconic Souq Waqif, in the oldest part of Doha, offers numerous shops and stalls. Popular items for sale include pashmina shawls and scarves, oud wood or oil, dates and spices, intricate wooden boxes, Dalla Arabian pots for coffee and modern jewelry at the suitably entitled Gold Souq. Visitors can also haggle when booking a cruise aboard a traditional wooden dhow boat, which is lined up along the Corniche and provide a relaxing way to watch the sunset.
EAT WELL FOR LESS
Qatar offers a wide range of local and international cuisine and being on a budget doesn’t mean skimping on quality and flavor.
Shay Al Shomous is a restaurant run by a renowned Qatari woman called Shams Al Qassabi, who was the first businesswoman to open a shop in Souq Waqif. All menu items are priced under 7 USD, so it is easy to sample a large assortment of authentic Qatari food.
Chapati & Karak is an establishment in Katara Cultural Village, serving local tea for less than 2 USD. This sweet Karak tea is an Indian drink now deeply rooted in Qatari culture.
In the heart of the city is Turkey Central, frequented by both locals and ex-pats alike for its mouth-watering menu, generous prices, and prompt service. The menu options start from 1 USD upwards, with plates big enough for two to share.
In Doha, one of the easiest ways to get around is the new metro system. The state-of-the-art network features 100 km/h trains, driverless carriages and a Gold Class for premium passengers. A journey costs as little as 2 QAR for a one-way trip (0.55 USD), after a reusable travel card has been purchased for 10 QAR (2.75 USD).
Other transport options include comprehensive bus service, taxis, and ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Careem. A typical (non-surge) 30-minute journey on Uber usually comes to no more than 7 USD.
Lusail Tram travels around Lusail City, the heart of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. Sights include Lusail Stadium, which will host the tournament’s final, and Place Vendôme – a giant new luxury French-inspired shopping mall with dancing water fountains. Tram tickets cost 2 QAR for a one-way trip (0.55 USD).
SIX OF THE BEST VALUE HOTELS
- Four Points by Sheraton Doha
With 120 spacious rooms or suites available, the hotel sits right across a metro station and is just a short walk from Msheireb Downtown Doha. Rates start at QAR 475 per night (130 USD), room only, subject to hotel availability
- Holiday Inn Doha – The Business Park
In the center of the bustling financial district – perfect for a ‘bleisure’ break. It’s a 15-minute drive from Hamad International Airport and a few minutes away from top attractions including Souq Waqif, the Museum of Islamic Art and the National Museum of Qatar. The hotel’s room rates start at QAR 400 per night (110 USD)
- The Curve Hotel Qatar
Overlooking the Arabian Gulf in a design that follows the curvature of the Corniche, the hotel sits in the heart of the city skyline
- Centro Capital Doha
A 4-star affordable brand of the Rotana hotels, with a stylish design and modern amenities in the middle of the historical old Doha district. Rates start at QAR 400 per night (110 USD), room only, subject to hotel availability
- Strato by Warwick
Close to the Hamad International Airport with elegant interiors. Rates start at QAR 200 per night (110 USD), room only, subject to hotel availability
- Swiss- Belinn Doha
In the heart of the capital amid comfortable and trendy surroundings, the hotel is near Quest Doha and Msheireb Downtown Doha. Room rates start from 220 QAR / night, subject to hotel availability
ENJOY THE WORLD’S BEST VALUE STOPOVER
Qatar has incredible stopover packages available from just 14 USD per night. The deals, launched at the end of last year by Qatar Airways and Discover Qatar, and supported by Qatar Tourism, include a range of leading four-and five-star hotels, offering an affordable luxury to suit all budgets.